OXFORD, MS (WMC) - Every day, Katie Stubblefield is thriving.
The former Oxford, Mississippi resident is the youngest person to ever receive a face transplant.
As she recovers from a full-face transplant, at times, Katie Stubblefield can be hard to understand, but gratitude is hard to misinterpret.
Almost two years after her face transplant at The Cleveland Clinic, Katie was back to thank those who helped her from the beginning.
Katie tried to commit suicide in 2014 in Oxford, Mississippi.
After spending weeks at Regional One, Memphis doctors suggested a full-face transplant and said the place to be is The Cleveland Clinic.
Speech Pathologist Sue Ann Phippbar started working with Katie as soon as she arrived.
“She didn’t really even have like the control of her body to sit up in a wheelchair,” Phippbar said. “She had no nose, she had no lips."
While Katie’s recovery is far from over, her family said she wouldn’t be where she is today without each person who has come into their lives.
“God just sent us the right people,” said her mother Alesia. “I mean we had the perfect doctor, we had the perfect therapist.”
In all, Katie has received more than a dozen surgeries and more will come, including one to help her speak more clearly.
But every day Katie is waking up with a new outlook on life, and so are those who have been a part of her journey.
“She’s really taught us a lot about taking life as it comes to you and dealing with what’s in front of you,” Phippbar said.
“I’m much more grateful for life,” Katie said. “I’m much more grateful for life.”
Katie plans to go to college and focus on a counseling career.
A GoFundMe account has been created in her honor.
Their initial goal is to raise $50,000 to pay for Katie and her family’s needs.
If you would like to donate, click here.